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WAMC News

Rep. Delgado Outlines Infrastructure Investments At Structurally Unsound Schoharie Bridge

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Dave Lucas
/
WAMC
Congressman Antonio Delgado in Schoharie, NY (July 6, 2021)

The bridge over the Schoharie Creek has been deemed "structurally and functionally obsolete," one of thousands across the country that lawmakers say a new infrastructure package could address. New York Congressman Antonio Delgado spoke about the House bill at the bridge Tuesday.

Delgado, a Democrat from the 19th district, says he secured funding to repair the nearly 100-year-old bridge in the House-passed “INVEST in America Act.”

"We must replace this bridge to protect Schoharie residents. And let's be clear, we can't close the bridge, we need to reroute traffic. We need to invest in the bridge. Closing this bridge would result in a 14 mile round trip. 14 mile round trip for families, small businesses and farmers of Schoharie. So that's why it was important for us to try to secure funding in the Invest in America Act to replace the Bridge Street Bridge, to improve upon it. $6,254,400 - if we get this bill through, not just the House, but the Senate and signed at the president's desk, we get the funding that we know we need here in our community for the bridge."

Schoharie Fire Chief Doug Stinson says people don't realize the importance of just one bridge for the community.

“…the ability for us to respond to emergencies. The ability for kids to be picked up for school. The ability for people just to get to work.”

Commissioner of Public Works Dan Crandell noted Schoharie County is in the eighth most rural Congressional District in the country. He says when the bridge was first built, back in the early 1900s, it was state of the art. Today it is one of the three most heavily trafficked bridges in the county.

“The rehab cost on this bridge is five and a half million. So it's really not economically feasible to rehab this bridge when a new bridge construction costs is 7.8 million. It just doesn't make sense to rehab it. So we're hoping that the infrastructure bill passes both the House and the Senate and we get the funding and we can get this bridge replaced. The new bridge won't have any height restrictions on it and will also have 12 foot travel lanes and five and a half foot shoulder walkway on each side. So it'll be a big improvement for the community.”

Delgado says both chambers continue to work on infrastructure, but it’s not clear what the Senate will approve.

“You know, I'm home now in the district for the next most of us are right for the next week or two. When we get back later on this month, I think the intensity to get this done, is going to be ratcheted up.”

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